this weekend i finally got around to reading a glamour mag that's been sitting on my bedside table for 3 months. they had an article the A-to-Z Money guide and i thought it was a cute idea.
that being said, some of theirs weren't my fave...so, here is my version!
A: assets! know your assets. your car, mutual funds, home (if you're lucky enough to own), stocks, savings etc are all your assets. the goal is to have more assets than you do debt and continue building them.
B: bargain shop. if you need it, find it cheap. it just takes a little research and some patience and you can get a lot more for your money. one of my fave bargain money savers is this...
C: charity-give back and you will get back. i am a firm believer in giving back, even in the smallest of amounts. something about putting that energy out in the universe brings it back around. i choose kiva and love the feeling i get each time i donate!
D: debt. know the difference between good debt and bad debt. get rid of the bad debt first, and then focus on getting rid of the good debt. crawling out of debt will also have big impact on your net worth!
E: education. my student loans were a big pain in the ass to pay off but i don't know where i would be without my education. i only owed about $18,500 for my undergrad and graduate degrees, but the national average for student loan debt (only for an undergrad degree) is an astronomical $25,250-and the problem is kids don't know how to handle all of that debt when they graduate. pay it off, and do it as quick as you can.
F: frugality. this was big for me. i had to learn to be a bit more frugal...or really, frugal at all.
G: girlfriends- or any friends at all. if you have a financial goal, or are even just trying to cut back, be honest with your friends about your situation. often times, we fall into doing things our friends want to do even though we haven't budgeted or planned for it. you have to learn to either say no, or offer another (cheaper) suggestion.
H: home ownership. i am just dying to buy a house-and they say now is the time. so if you can get out of the vicious renters circle it could really save you in the long run! here's a related post from last summer.
I: invest. it's hard to forget we won't be young forever, but we won't....sorry kids. start thinking about retirement, and put some of that cash in a roth ira or the market and act like it never existed. you'll thank me later.
J: just keep swimming! finances are like anything else, you will have set backs but you just have to keep moving forward. it's like a diet...just because you have one day of pizza and beer doesn't mean you should start the whole damn thing over. if you have an occasional splurge, it's okay, just pick right back up where you left off.
K: keeping up with the jones' will get you nowhere fast. don't worry about what everyone else is doing. do what you want/can afford to do!! nothing agitates me more than people who spend your money for you-so don't allow it to happen. be strong and just assume everyone that spends wildly is up to their eyeballs in credit card debt...that always makes me feel better ;)
L: learn as much as you can. i didn't know anything about finances when i started down this road. i went to the library and checked out as many books as i could find and started there. i loved you're so money by farnoosh torabi.
M: Mint.com is a huge game changer for us young adults trying to map out our finances and ultimately understand where on earth all that money goes. you can link all of your accounts, credit cards, assets etc and get a clear view of your financial situation without jumping around to a dozen different sites.i'm a big fan!
N: nix the non needs. when i started my lockdown i got rid of pretty much everything i didn't need. i didn't have AC or internet in my apartment, i canceled my online memberships, wine club, and magazine subscriptions. i quit going out to eat as much, going to the movies, etc. even if you only do this for a short while you can make big progress by cutting little things. challenge yourself with a small goal like: for the next three months i will not buy any coffee shop coffee (or whatever your financial pain point is).
O: opt for mending. try and fix the things you have rather than buy new.
P: pay attention. read! there are all kinds of cheap or free activities in your city. check out the paper, or local mags to find concerts, farmers markets, comedy, movies, festivals, sports etc all for cheap or free!
Q: quotes. get quotes for your car insurance. i found out i was paying WAY more than i needed to be for car insurance. i saved over HALF by filling out a few online questionnaires and comparing costs.
R: rewards. my favorite thing in the (financial) world is rewards. i'm points hungry so i had to try and find a way to make it work for me instead of hurt me like it had been. i am a big fan of credit cards-if you pay them off monthly and don't have to pay fees. i think credit cards get a bad rap. here's why... because of my credit cards i seldom pay for travel and get a lot of additional rewards. you just have to play the game, be smart, and do it better than the credit card companies plan on!
S: stay focused. set financial goals and stick to them. every time i catch myself 30 minutes deep in an anthropologie swoon session i always reiterate to myself that having an additional $10,000 in savings at the end of the year will mean more to me that that totally adorable-must have-on sale apron (that will hang forever in the closet in my kitchen, never to be worn).
T: thrift stores- i've never been one of those people that can go into a thrift store and find that just right thing i have been dying to have. my friend tara is genius at it, but i can't seem to catch a break. however, i do like to do a closet overhaul every once in a while and take my things to buffalo exchange, or donate them to charity. cleaning out my closet helps me see how much i really do have, and occasionally i make a buck or two trading them in!
U: understand routes other people have taken to find financial freedom. when i started my lockdown, i think i read every financial blog out there to try and better understand my options and get good ideas. of course, and then she saved is a great one, and i also like the simple dollar.
V: verify the information of your credit report annually. nothing can destroy your financial future worse than identity theft or a terrible credit score.
W: wastes! evaluate your lifestyle and your spending and you can figure out pretty quickly what you are wasting money on and then make a plan for dealing with it. i did a post on common money wastes a while back. my big wastes before i started paying attention to spending were coffee, cocktails and cosmetics! all areas i have scaled back or cut completely.
X: eXcel spreadsheets. they have changed my life. tracking all of my financial information on an excel spreadsheet makes it easier for me to track, budget and plan my finances. i have a spreadsheet for just about everything from goals, to annual budgets, to net worth. whenever i get the urge to shop online i go mess around with my financial planning spreadsheet instead. nerd alert!
Y: YOU are in charge of your finances, so start acting like it!! gen y-ers have a problem, for whatever reason, with being responsible for their money. of course this isn't true of everyone in our generation, but i think it's a common problem. take control. learn!! be in charge. be proactive! when i started my lockdown i did not feel very "in control" but now i feel like i have a pretty firm grasp and also, a plan!!! it makes all the difference.
Z: ZERO debt!!! seriously this is a feeling unlike any other!